Monday, 2 July 2018

Stiff Little Fingers

1st July 2018

Edinburgh Liquid Rooms

Stiff Little Fingers for me, up until few years ago, meant that stunning Alternative Ulster single from a million years ago.....and little else.  That is, until a chap arrived at work a few years back; a huge fan of the band.  A congenitally cheery individual with what appeared to be a seemingly endless collection of XXL Stiff Little Fingers' T shirts.

Knowing I was a regular gig go-er he'd been chivvying me to go along to see “The Fingers” as he calls them, for some time.  And a more than fine evening's entertainment it proved.  A touch too heavy at times for my personal tastes perhaps, for SLH have more than one foot in the metal idiom, despite their punk ancestry. 

The show opened with a recorded version of an instrumental I later learned to be titled Go For It, and as the band churned out their opening few songs it was clear they were very much amongst friends, for every word was sung back at them.

There was a touch of sameyness with the opening few songs, I felt, before things were stirred up with the lyrical tongue-twister Roots, Radicals, Rockers and Reggae.  A sliver of do-whop enlivened Barbed Wire Love, before the band's raucous cover of The Specials' It Doesn't Make it Alright proved a welcome introduction to the gig of something familiar (to me, anyway).

As the band moved towards the final third of the show, the crowd-pleasers flowed thick and fast: At The Edge and Tin Soldiers each having the Liquid Rooms bouncing, with me having to move back to stay clear of the middle-aged mosh-pit.  “I wish I'd formed a folk band” joked singer Jake Burns, as he wiped another litre of sweat from his forehead.

My Dark Places, a relatively new song, I really enjoyed.  Writing this one, we were informed, having formed an integral part of Burns' self-therapy to the depression which has plagued him over the years.

However, I felt his assertion that “I’m not going back to my dark places”, missed the point.  For the problem with depression is one does not have to go anywhere - these dark places come and find you, no matter where you hide.  It is a powerful and brutally honest song for all that, and represented the high point of the show for me.

Apart, of course, for Alternative Ulster.

Jake Burns

Ali McMordie

Ian McCallum

Steve Grantley

Stiff Little Fingers - Edinburgh 2018

Set list - a touch of guesswork here, on my part.

Go For It (recorded intro)
Wasted Life
Nobody's Hero
Gotta Getaway
Roots, Radicals, Rockers and Reggae
Safe as Houses
Barbed Wire Love
It Doesn't Make it Alright
Is That What You Fought The War For?
At The Edge
My Dark Places
Tin Soldiers

Suspect Device
Alternative Ulster

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